News Round Up

by Patrick O'Connor


CONGRATULATIONS from the Daily Mirror to Jack who has just turned 117 in dog years, making him the country's oldest canine.

Jack, a Yorkshire terrier, has celebrated his 26th birthday and, says his owners,Ray and Mary Bunn from Hartlepool in County Durham, still gets mistaken for a puppy.

They rescued Jack 16 years ago when he faced being abandoned and tied to a tree.

A traditional nativity play has been given a modern makeover by a Baptist church in Kent by showing Jesus being born in a refugee camp.

The Daily Express reports that Charlie Ingram, minister at Bessels Green Baptist Church in Sevenoaks made the decision after visiting the 'Jungle' camp in Calais where over 6,000 migrants are based.

He commented: “The traditional stable image wasn't a palace and we thought, 'what would that look like today?' It is causing quite a lot of conversation and there are mainly positive comments. People do seem to connect the Christmas story to poverty.”

He said the scenes are inspired by the charity workers and migrants he met from countries including Syria and Sudan.

According to The Guardian, conservationists are concerned about the disappearance of British butterflies after a survey revealed dramatic declines in common species.

It seems that more than three-quarters of Britain’s 59 butterfly species have declined over the last 40 years.

Chris Packham, vice president of Butterfly Conservation, is quoted as saying: “If butterflies are going down like this, what’s happening to our grasshoppers, our beetles, our solitary bees? If butterflies are in trouble, rest assured everything else is.”

He has called for urgent research to identify the causes for the disappearance of butterflies from ordinary farmland.

The Daily Express reports that a piece of plastic from a Star Wars action figure has sold for almost £2,000 as part of a £160,000 sale of rare toys relating to the film franchise.

It is a red rocket measuring just 28mm long and was attached to the back of a prototype figure of bounty hunter Boba Fett.

Toy company Kenner originally designed the figure to fire the missile from a jet pack on its back but after safety testing decided the product was too dangerous and it was never released to the public in that form.

A spokesperson for Vectis Auctions of Stockton-on-Tees, Durham, said: “There is already a heavy army of avid Star Wars followers and the collecting community continues to grow. It doesn't look like it will wane any time soon.”

The Independent has published details of information from the National Records of Scotland which show that Jack and Emily are the most popular baby names in the country.

More than 500 Jacks and 460 Emilys were born this year. Other boys’ names in the top 10 included James, Lewis, Alexander, Charlie and Logan. Emily was followed by Sophie, Olivia, Isla and Ava.

A cottage which was once occupied by TE Lawrence – Lawrence of Arabia – is to be given extra protection to preserve it.

A Guardian article says that the Government has upgraded Clouds Hill cottage in Devon, which has no electric lighting or bathroom, to Grade 11 status.

The tiny cottage, now owned by the National Trust, was built for a forester in the early 19th century but was rescued from dereliction by TE Lawrence in the 1920s. It is still full of furniture and fittings he bought, borrowed, or built himself.

Reference list:

The Express (

The Guardian (

The Independent (

Daily Mirror (